Stirring and gorgeous fare from Scottish singer-songwriter Siobhan Wilson here. The Departure flits between folk, acoustic balladry and rock in a manner that recalls Wilson’s fellow Scots Camera Obscura, Idlewild and Frightened Rabbit. Lyrically The Departure finds Wilson addressing issues of identity, feminism and the natural world.
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Marrying semi-shoegaze undertones with indie folk and close harmonies, ‘The Departure’ by Scottish artist Siobhan Wilson is a tender work that successfully traverses some of the more irritating hangups and preoccupations of this kind of music. What I like about this record is just how spare it can sound. On ‘Ne Dis Rien’ (one of the album’s real highlights), the drum machine sounds like it just can’t even be bothered; Roland get your act together! On second thoughts, don’t, because this is a quality that gives the song its gorgeous languid quality. I also love how tentative ‘Unconquerable’ sounds despite its heavy instrumentation. When the bass riff started I was anticipating something naff and grungy but that was not the case. ‘Unconquerable’, in fact, follows in the vein of ‘Loomer’ from MBV’s ‘Loveless’, which is surely a touchstone or reference for this album with its quasi-operatic vocals and blasts of washy, distorted guitars.
The conclusion I draw from this album is that Wilson’s music succeeds more when its restricted, whether that’s in terms of little to no percussion or, even, perhaps, in terms of language (the French language songs are among my favourites on the album). ‘The Departure’ is at its best when certain traditional elements are stripped away and those remaining are left to thrive.
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